IDF reservists during Operation Pillar of Defense 370.
(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
The IDF has canceled all reserve operational duty for the remainder of the year
due to a cut in the defense budget for 2013 and 2014.
from four battalions who received call-up notices in the past two weeks will soon
be notified that their duties have been canceled for the remainder of the
The government decided last month to cut the defense budget by NIS
3 billion in 2014, and by NIS 1.5b. this year, as part of a wider attempt to
deal with a NIS 40b. deficit.
The coming months will also see a
significant reduction in reserve training. The priority in advanced training
will be placed on the infantry and armored corps reserve forces that are
expected to take part in a land maneuver during a future potential war. The rest
of the reserves will undergo basic battle fitness training only.
in training activities for regular soldiers will also be felt, among units
belonging to the Home Front Command, the Engineering Corps and the Artillery
Corps. Training programs for the Armored Corps will be cut by a number of
The IDF is also expected to cancel General Staff exercises this
year, including one set for the air force and the Central
Addressing the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on
Monday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the IDF needed the resources to be
able to keep to a multi-year force building plan.
“In talks about the
budget, it was clear to me that the security forces have to shoulder their
weight in dealing with the deficit, but this should be done wisely, and with a
multi-year program,” Ya’alon said.
“There are heavy and immediate
implications to the defense budget. The situation is fragile. To get through
2013 and 2014 successfully, we’re being forced to cut reserve days, to decrease
training and operational duties of the reserves, and as a result, to load more
onto the regular forces, who take up the reserves’ place.
“There will be
cuts in the short term on condition that we’ll know how to provide an answer for
the long term. We’re expecting a very difficult year in 2014,” Ya’alon
In terms of air defense, the budget cuts will not impact the
production of Iron Dome batteries, which are continuing at an increased rate,
Ya’alon said, but the development of the David’s Sling system, which intercepts
medium- range projectiles like Hezbollah’s arsenal of katyushas, will have to be
“stretched” unless a new arrangement is made.
Ya’alon lashed out at what
he described as inaccurate claims about the salaries and pensions of career
soldiers. He said an IDF engineer “serves, rather than works.”
engineer is at the IDF’s service 24 hours a day without overtime,” he said.
“There’s nowhere else where one is available 24 hours a day. In past two years, the servicemen and pensioners have been seriously hit [by budget
cuts]... not everyone reaches high ranks, and the criticism is therefore
MK Nachman Shai (Labor) praised the IDF’s decision to cut
reserve training as opposed to funding for regular soldiers, calling it
“measured and balanced.”
“The need to cut the budget puts the IDF in an
impossible situation,” he said. “This decision creates a long-term problem, but
at the moment it is the only way. The State of Israel and the IDF are taking a
At the same time, Shai pointed out that instability in
the Middle East could create new situations in which the IDF will have to change
its plans yet again and ignore the difficult budget cut.
MK Omer Bar-Lev
(Labor) said there’s no reason to get worked up over the cuts, because he trusts
Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz.
the need for significant cuts and their responsibility to provide security for
the citizens of the State of Israel,” he stated.
“I trust their
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